The healthcare industry is facing unprecedented attacks from hackers as evident from the report released by FireEye titled Beyond Compliance: Cyber Threats and Healthcare. The report observes that the criminals steal personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI) for monetisation, sometimes backed by nation-states. Furthermore, ransomware attacks can cause havoc on medical devices like pacemakers.
“Looking forward, the increasing number of biomedical devices used for critical functions within hospitals and healthcare providers presents a growing security challenge. Furthermore—given their importance and value—a growing willingness by cybercrime, or, in a period of heightened geopolitical tensions, nation-state actors—to deploy disruptive and destructive tools may significantly increase the impact from these threats we have observed to date,” the report observed.
The stolen data was sold on the dark web for amounts ranging from $200 to $5500.
Breaches of data
Following is the list of breaches reported by FireEye.
- March 19, 2019: Hackers from a group called InfoMerchant leaked the data of an unspecified health card company for an unspecified amount.
- February 21, 2019: The hackers from NetFlow stole and leaked 4.31GB of patient’s data — including their driver’s licence, health insurance and ZIP code — for $2000.
- February 12, 2019: Hackers from specfvol released data of over 50,000 patients from a US-based health care institution. The data consisted of medical records, PII and healthcare info and was sold in $500.
- February 2, 2019: A hacker group, fallensky519, stole and leaked the data of 6,800,000 patients from an Indian healthcare website for $1700. The data contained PII, doctor credentials, among others.
- January 28, 2019: an unspecified amount of records from a Canadian-based healthcare website were put to sale by x99x, for $5500. The data included the server name, IP address, and other platform information.
- January 22, 2019: For $480, hacker group emoto sold the personal records of about 58,000 patients from US-based healthcare institution.
- January 16, 2019: Hackers released data from more than 270 US hospitals for $500. The data contained about 100,000 records.
- December 15, 2018: 19,000 records from US healthcare institution was released by emoto hacker group for $300. The data contained financial information, email addresses and employee information.
- November 15, 2018: The data from US medical universities were leaked by the hackers for an unspecified amount.
- November 4, 2018: 180,000-200,000 records were leaked from the United Kingdom for $200.
FireEye found that Chinese hackers are leading the healthcare-based attacks on US institutions, as China aspires for universal healthcare by 2020. The reason being Chinese concern over the mortality rates and cancer cases, which are increasing in the country. China has one of the fastest-growing pharma industry and targeting Western countries can help their domestic market immensely.
Other countries involved in attacks on the healthcare sector are Russia and Vietnam, according to the report.